From July to October 2013, BCREA and the Real Estate Broker Association (REBA) conducted a Managing Broker Research Project to provide insights into the values and priorities of BC managing brokers regarding REALTOR® education. In order to identify and confirm strategic next steps, REBA and BCREA would now like BC REALTORS®’ feedback on the research findings.
The following is the executive summary Managing Broker Research Project Report:
The Managing Broker Research Project Report presents the results of the online survey and the face-to-face interviews, which were facilitated by BCREA and REBA, and which represents the views of BC real estate brokers.
The goals of the Managing Broker Research Project are to provide:
- an analysis of the spectrum of education models in operation in BC brokerages,
- an analysis of possible areas of alignment between the Professional Development Program (PDP) and brokerage education models, and
- recommendations for enhancements to the PDP from 2014 to 2016.
A total of 256 brokers participated in the research, representing approximately 24 per cent of all residential brokers in the province. However, there were limitations in determining statistically significant trends. The research sample is not a random sample because the survey participants were self-selected, the interviewees were recommended by their boards, and there may be some overlap between those who completed the survey and those who were interviewed. Therefore, the report discusses patterns, trends, and issues rather than statistically significant “facts.”
In addition to identifying a number of key factors in determining trends such as:
- size of brokerage, geography/location
- brokerages associated with a brand and those which are independently branded
- owner broker vs. managing broker
- selling vs. non selling broker
- size of brokerage
- brokerage business model
- age level
- resource availability
The report discusses the education models in BC brokerages in relation to these key factors. It also includes broker comments about how they engage and assess learning in their brokerages, and an “Ideal Vision of an Education Model for Licensees”.
The report then provides feedback from the brokers on education alignment between the brokerages and BCREA. The question of who should be conducting the training in hard skills (defined as agency, disclosure, contracts and standard forms, and ethics), soft skills, specialized properties, customer service, and small business skills generated interesting, diverse, and sometimes polarized comments. The report also discusses the question of providing accreditation for in-house training and issues around the implementation of that process. Finally, the brokers provided insight into recommendations for improving the PDP, including comments on the current funding model and a plan for enhancing PDP to better meet the needs of the brokers themselves.
Throughout the report it is important to note that comments from the surveyed and interviewed brokers reflect the perceptions of the brokers and may or may not reflect the reality of the industry.
The recommendations for moving forward are based on broker insights and focus on PDP improvements, managing broker education needs, and further research requirements. BCREA and REBA will need to review these recommendations internally and with stakeholders to determine next steps.
It is recommended that:
BCREA should continue to:
- focus on hard skills training (i.e. agency, disclosure, contracts and standard forms, and ethics) and specialized properties but work with boards to address local issues.
- revise PDP courses generally to be more practical, more interactive, and to include accountability and assessment.
- develop learner pathways, particularly in the managing broker stream, to ensure variety and relevance.
- develop more online courses/seminars, particularly for rural communities where access and cost are barriers to participation.
BCREA should consider:
- accrediting training in the secondary skills areas under Category C of the new PDP credit system.
- conducting environmental scans of existing educational resources before embarking on new course development to ensure BCREA does not duplicate existing training.
- making educational resources available on a not-for-credit basis.
BCREA should address managing broker concerns by:
- developing courses that meet brokers’ specific needs.
- providing opportunities for brokers to discuss common issues (seminars, conferences, etc.).
- broadening what counts toward PDP credits for managing brokers under Category C.
- working with REBA and an education institution, such as Sauder School of Business, to develop a more comprehensive training program for new brokers. There is concern that new brokers do not know what to do in the day-to-day operation of their brokerage and there is little training available to support them.
In terms of issues that require further research, it was determined that:
- additional research is needed to identify the preferences of the large urban brokerages in determining the role of BCREA in training secondary competency areas. Because large urban brokerages represent a small number of brokerages province-wide, this is best done through focus groups rather than surveys.
- BCREA should work to clarify preferences and trends in the following areas:
- the acceptability of the current PDP funding model,
- training related to minimal levels of customer service associated with the REALTOR® brand,
- accreditation of in-house brokerage courses for PDP credit, and
- succession planning.
This is best done by having the BCREA develop concrete proposals to which brokers respond. The responses should come from focus groups representative of brokerage size, region, and branding. As well, it is recommended that REBA should develop an outreach strategy for brokers across the province. There's an interest in REBA but very little knowledge of it or familiarity with it.
To help BCREA and REBA identify strategic next steps and help shape the future of BC REALTOR® education, the Association is asking REALTORS® to review the full 26 page Managing Broker Research Project Report, which is followed by a detailed appendix of each question and response, and provide your feedback (by March 31, 2014). Please consider the following questions while reviewing the report. In terms of this research, what are the:
- top three take-aways/positive aspects?
- top three challenges or "gaps in knowledge" that remain?
- three important next steps?
- potential impacts on you or your organization’s business practice?
To provide your feedback, please visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/BrokerResearch.